FF students span globe [UPDATED]Published 10:59am Monday, August 13, 2012 Updated 11:05am Monday, August 13, 2012
While most students will only learn foreign languages in a classroom, several Kennedy Secondary students had the opportunity to travel out of the U.S. this summer to put their classroom language learning to the test.
High school Spanish teacher Jane McLandress took ten students on an adventure to the “Rich Coast” in June.
In just eight days, a group of ten Spanish students explored Costa Rica’s rain forests, wildlife, people, volcanos, beaches, food, historic sites and schools.
“It was just a fabulous experience,” said McLandress.
The group went on rain forest hikes where students got to see animals most high school students only get a chance to see in pictures and on TV.
“Costa Rica has an amazing variety of animals,” McLandress said. “We saw insects, birds, crocodiles, tarantulas, iguanas, sloths and all different kinds of monkeys.”
The group had the opportunity to hike up two of Costa Rica’s 61 volcanos, the Poas and Arenal.
“We had a spectacular view from the Poas Volcano,” she said. “Often times you can’t see anything because it’s covered in fog, but we got a clear view of it. It was absolutely spectacular.”
The students got to see dolphins from a catamaran and go ziplining, but Delaney Schara said her favorite part was visiting children at an elementary school.
“We were supposed to talk to them in Spanish and they were supposed to talk to us in English,” Schara said. “It was fun, but it was hard.”
After meeting the children, everyone went outside and played soccer and jumped rope.
“It was probably the most memorable and meaningful part of the trip,” McLandress said.
A group of nine girls who each took at least two years of French at Kennedy Secondary School had the opportunity to take a 12-day trip to Europe with French teacher Deb Sutor.
The group landed in Paris, France on June 13 where they spent two days seeing sites including Louvre Art Museum, Galeries Lafayette and the Eiffel Tower.
From Paris, the group took a train to the southwest coast and into Spain. They then went around to the southern part of France where they saw the Carcassonne medieval fortress among many other interesting sites, Sutor said.
They continued to travel to the south-central portion of France and along the Mediterranean coast before taking a bus to Italy where they stayed for two days. Their final stop of their long journey was Milan, Italy where they caught a flight back to the U.S.
“The focus of the trip was for the students to learn how to communicate with people in the different places we visited,” Sutor said. “One girl was proud of the fact that she knew how to pick out her favorite kind of ice cream and say how many scoops she wanted and get it in a bowl. Not only could they do simple ordering, but they could specify what they wanted.”
Instead of always sticking to the larger cities where many locals spoke English, the group spent some time in smaller towns where the students really needed to use the French skills they learned in the classroom, Sutor said.
“It’s great to not only be able to see the towns from a train or a bus, but to also be able to walk around and talk to people,” she said. “That’s the way to do it, and I think the students got that experience.”
This trip was Rachel Prazak’s first time overseas, and she said her favorite part of the trip was going down to southern France.
“They spoke more French to you,” she said. “It was fun to go to little towns because we actually had to use what we learned.”
Prazak hopes to take another trip to Europe in the future.
“I would go back in a heartbeat,” she said. “I would really like to go to Egypt or the Czech Republic. I think that would be really fun.”
Overall, it was a positive experience for the students, and nobody got lost, and things worked out well, Sutor said.
“It was a very successful trip, and the kids got a great hands on experience,” she said. “So often students will say, ‘How am I every going to use this language?’ It’s great when they put it to use and can be successful and confident with it.”